Letters Home from the War
The following are footnotes related to the World War Letter Project.

1 The 35th Division included approximately 27,000 soldiers & officers. It was composed of the following organizations: 69th Infantry Brigade (137th -- including Lloyd's "K Company" -- and 138th Regiments), 70th Infantry Brigade (139th & 140th Regiments), 128th, 129th & 130th Machine Gun Battalions, 60th Artillery Brigade (128th, 129th & 130th Artillery Regiments), 110th Trench Mortar Battery, 110th Engineer Regiment & Train, 110th Field Signal Battalion, 110th Train Headquarters & Military Police, 110th Supply Train, 110th Ammunition Train, and 110th Sanitary Train (137th, 138th, 139th & 140th Ambulance Companies & Field Hospitals). Most of the divisions involved in WWI had the same or similar structure.

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2 Sir Harry MacLennan Lauder, 1870-1950. A British singer noted for his comic stage persona, a wry and nostalgic Highlander.

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3 A Broadway picture show based on a best-selling book.

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4 Troop transport ships traveled in convoys of 8-12 ships. Half of the convoy were transports and the other half were Navy escort cruisers and battleships.

For more on transporting the troops, see this related essay.

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5 A "Company" is a subdivision of a military regiment or battalion that constitutes the lowest administrative unit. It is under the command of a captain and is usually made up of four platoons (230 to 250 men).

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6 There was no date on this letter but the envelope was postmarked May 27, 1918, so it must have been written on or prior to that date.

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7 Ethel (Graves) Staley, wife of Lloyd's brother Glenn.

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8 Probably James Gasaway, a boyhood friend.

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9 Robert was Mary's brother.

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10 Royal Flying Corps. The British air force.

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11 Aunt Jess would be Jessie (Lamb) Townsend, sister of May Belle (Lamb) Staley, Lloyd's mother.

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12 A "billet" is lodging for troops.

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13 The Red Cross held two "war drives" to secure funds for their relief work with the troops. While it is not certain that Mary was involved in the second drive conducted between May 20 and 27, 1918, it seems likely. This drive set a goal of collecting $100,000,000. They exceeded the goal by 70%.

For more on the Red Cross, see this related essay.

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14 The Red Cross and the Y.M.C.A. are two of many charitable organizations that provided aid and service to the troops.

For more on the Y.M.C.A., see this related essay.

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15 Ottawa University. Lloyd attended this university from 1915-1917 along with his boyhood friends, James Gasaway and Douglas Walsh. His athletic accomplishments at the university included football.

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16 Camp Doniphan in Lawton, Oklahoma, where Lloyd went through training camp.

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17 Probably Lloyd's boyhood friend, Douglas Walsh.

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18 Clarence Benjamin Staley was Lloyd's younger brother, the fourth in the family of five boys.

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19 Louise Davenport, a girlhood friend of Mary's.

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20 "Boche" was a disparaging term for a German.

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21 O.D. referred to his uniform -- short for "Olive Drabs."

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22 Stars and Stripes was a weekly armed forces magazine.

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23 "Hunland" was a disparaging term for Germany.

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24 The officers of Companies in close proximity to one another had the task of censoring letters of soldiers in other than their own Company, thus reducing the risk of collusion.

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25 "Bi're" means beer in French.

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26 An adult education summer program formed in 1873 at the Methodist Episcopal camp meeting in Chautauqua, N.Y., by John Heyl Vincent and Lewis Miller. These 8-week programs offered secular and religious instruction, and lectures by authors, explorers, musicians, & political leaders. Somewhere between revival meetings and country fairs in spirit, Chautauquas were attended by thousands each year. They were organized commercially in 1912 and persisted until c.1924.

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27 Lloyd's oldest brother, Vern Edwin Staley.

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28 "Tommies" was a slang term for British soldiers. American soldiers were known as "Sammies." A "Jerry" was a German soldier. The French soldiers were called "Poilu," meaning "hairy," referring to their customary thick whiskers.

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29 It was reported that the net length of a complete Division on the move would span approximately 20 miles.

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30 When General Pershing reviewed the 35th Division at the end of May 1918, he referred to them as "men above average size."

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31 "Doughboy" was a slang term for an American infantryman in World War I. There is some speculation as to the origin of the term but this one makes most sense to me: In Texas, U.S. Infantry in training along the Rio Grande were powdered white with the dust of adobe soil, and hence were called "adobes" by mounted troops. It was shortened to "dobies" and then became "Doughboys."

For more on the Postal Service with the A.E.F., see this related essay.

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32 According to Lloyd's memoirs, Mary's family moved back to Kansas City in 1918 and Mary took a job as reporter for a number of trade magazines. The man for whom she worked, a Mr. Brown, called his firm the Kansas City News Service. They had their office in the old Railway Exchange building at 7th and Grand Avenues.

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33 "Parti" in French means "to leave."

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34 "Bonsoir" is French for "goodnight."

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35 Although Lloyd dated this letter "October 12," it appears more likely to fall on November 12 due to the references in the fourth and fifth paragraphs to the signing of the Armistice the previous day. Had this information been known and relayed a month earlier, it surely would not have passed the censor.

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36 Germany's Wilhelm II abdicated November 8 and hostilities on the western front ended November 11 in an armistice signed by Germany and Allies at Champagne outside Paris.

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37 This clearly illustrates the internal strife in the German government. Lloyd's statement is the equivalent of wondering whether or not the President is connected to the U.S. Government!

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38 Probably Maud Louise Cole. When she married Mary's brother Robert, the Maud was dropped and she was known as Louise Gray.

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39 The postcards mentioned were not found in this collection of letters.

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40 Charles Pathé, 1863-1957, a French film mogul. Pathé Fr'res dominated (c.1901-14) world production, world distribution, and European manufacture of film stock and equipment. The Pathé Gazette newsreel was among the firm's many films.

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41 The postcards mentioned were not found in this collection of letters.

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42 Ellis Wayne Staley was Lloyd's youngest brother. Ellis would have been 9 years old at the time of this letter.

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43 This mountain system of south-central Europe is about 500 miles long and 100 miles wide, curving in an arc from the Riviera on the Mediterranean Sea through northern Italy and southeast France, Switzerland, southern Germany, and Austria and into northwest Yugoslavia. The peak known as Mont Blanc, the highest point in Europe (15,771 ft. or 4,807 m. elevation), is shared by France and Italy (the unseen border running over the peak).

For more on the soldier leave areas, see this related essay.

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44 Hannibal (born 247 B.C., died 183 or 182 B.C.) was a Carthaginian general, one of the great military geniuses of all time; son of Hamilcar Barca, of the great Barca family. In 221 B.C. he succeeded his brother-in-law, Hasdrubal, as commander in Spain. During the Second Punic War, he set out to invade Italy with a small force of picked troops, crossed the Alps with a full baggage train and elephants and, with his cavalry, overran the Po valley. He wiped out a Roman force and in 217 set out toward Rome.

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45 Lloyd's letter says "Tuesday" but he has just described a full day of activities for Tuesday so I would assume he meant Wednesday.

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46 The postcards mentioned were not found in this collection of letters.

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47 The exchange rate at that time was approximately 40 francs to the dollar so this one franc note represented about 2.5 cents. However, the current (1996) exchange rate is around 4.5 to 5.1 francs to the dollar. Sometime in the 1930s or 1940s the French rolled up the value of their currency by one decimal point thereby making 10 "old" francs equal to 1 "new" franc. At that time they issued all new currency so this item is a modest rarity. To compare relative values, one franc represented 1/40th of one day's pay for a Private First Class in 1918. The modern soldier (Private) is paid on average $29.13 per day ($874 per month) so 1/40th of one day's pay in today's army would be about 73¢. I will leave the relative "purchasing power" parallels to any and all economics experts reading this!

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48 Glenn Lamb Staley was Lloyd's older brother, the second oldest in the family of five boys. Glenn was stationed in San Antonio, Texas, and was involved in training troops in heavy artillery units. He had the rank of Captain when discharged.

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49 It is not clear what Lloyd meant to infer here. Possibly the fact that Glenn had a 4-month-old baby (Ruth) waiting at home prompted this comment.

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50 Most probably newspapers; possibly the Kansas City Herald.

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51 Lloyd's oldest daughter, Marjorie (Staley) Layton, has this item in her possession. (1996)

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52 Athletic events were organized by the Y.M.C.A. For more on this subject, you might be interested in this related essay.

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53 The American private, with his base pay of one dollar a day, was relatively the best paid soldier in the world. Great Britain paid a private the equivalent of thirty-six cents a day, Germany ten cents, France five cents, and Italy three cents.

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54 Presumably a reference to General John J. Pershing.

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55 The Iron Cross was given by the German Army to a worthy German soldier. These were often retrieved by various means and collected as souvenirs.

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56 "Gink" is a term referring to a man, especially one regarded as foolish or contemptible.

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57 Jess and Henry Townsend never had any children of their own so they seemed to take special interest in their nieces and nephews. Lloyd's son, Ben A. Staley recalls their generosity at Christmas when he was a young boy. They would often give Lloyd's large family an entire crate of fresh oranges -- a luxury when fruit was out of season. When Ben was about to propose marriage to Virginia Vae Corkill, his Uncle Henry (living alone since his wife's death) gave him Jess's wedding ring. Vae still owns the diamonds, although the setting became worn and has since been altered.

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58 For more on athletic events with the A.E.F., see this related essay.

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59 With the coming of the demobilization period, the US War Department, in cooperation with French educators, allowed soldiers interested in furthering their education full use of French educational institutions. At least two years of collegiate work was a requisite to admission.

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60 Some billets were little more than stables with beds of straw.

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61 Applications to the French universities (mentioned in footnote 59) were far in excess of the accommodations in spite of the 2 year requisite. To accommodate this overflow and to offer an opportunity to those who had less than 2 years preliminary preparation, an American University was established at Beaune, France. Approximately 6,000 students were sent to Beaune on "detached service" whereby they continued to receive their full pay while attending courses. Both instructors and students were allowed to return to their outfits when their turn came for embarkation, even if it was in the middle of a term. When the University was in full action at mid-term, it was offering 240 courses in 36 departments to a total class enrollment aggregating 13,243.

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62 Coast Artillery Corps. Apparently the name was a reference to their being situated on the U.S. coast prior to the war.

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63 This letter was not in the original collection of letters but was found later in a scrapbook now in the collection of Lloyd's son John Douglas Staley.

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